Music Business Canada
2009 Archive - Federal Government Cuts
As the election campaign develops, the arts funding issue has become more and more a part of the debate. On September 14th, at the Gémeaux awards in Montréal, the arts community lambasted the Conservative government and Mr. Harper by name in the televised show, and on September 15th a new editorial appeared in the Globe and Mail highly critical of the Prime Minister's understanding of art and artists and society. We continue to monitor the news and opinion pieces emerging from across the country, and have accumulated them in the accompanying archive.
To catch up on all the news read the related articles below.
Montreal, QC (September 26, 2008) Toronto Star — The ministers of culture from across Canada, including Ontario, today agreed to a resolution demanding that the federal government reverse its cuts to arts and culture programs.
Toronto, ON (September 25, 2008) Globe and Mail — Is Stephen Harper's battle with the arts community likely to help or hurt him with voters?
Halifax, NS (September 24, 2008) The Chronicle Herald — NDP Leader Jack Layton wants to ensure that prime-time TV shows are written and produced by Canadians and feature Canadian stars.
Toronto, ON (September 24, 2008) Toronto Star — Premier Dalton McGuinty stressed the importance of arts and culture funding to Ontario’s economy this morning, a day after Prime Minister Stephen Harper dismissed it as a concern of the rich.
Toronto, ON (September 24, 2008) Toronto Star — Prime Minister Stephen Harper has sparked a culture war in the federal election campaign with a claim that "ordinary people" don't care about arts funding.
Toronto, ON (September 24, 2008) Globe and Mail — Mr. Harper is wrong: There's more to the arts than a bunch of rich people at galas whining about their grants
Toronto, ON (September 24, 2008) Globe and Mail — Canada's artists have launched a pointed and passionate attack at the nation's political leaders, decrying Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's statement yesterday that ‘ordinary' Canadians don't care about the arts.
Toronto, ON (September 22, 2008) National Post — Let's play a little game. I'm going to say a couple of words that I think will make you sleepy or bored or cause your eyes to sarcastically roll. Ready? Here goes: Arts funding. See? The words "arts funding" are even ahead of "Canadian election" as a yawn-inducing duet. Why?
Halifax, NS (September 21, 2008) Halifax Chronicle Herald — ‘TO BE QUITE candid," said the Danish professor, "we in the Scandinavian countries always considered your country as an uninteresting shadow of the United States. But now recently everyone wants to know about Canada, because we all want to know, where is this extraordinary writing coming from?"
Montreal, QC (September 20, 2008) Globe and Mail - Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion charged into Quebec on Saturday, attacking the Conservatives' arts record and saying that Conservative Leader Stephen Harper knows little about the province's culture.
YouTube video "Culture in Danger (Culture en Péril, with subtitles)". Posted on YouTube: September 19, 2008.
Toronto, ON (September 15, 2008) Toronto Star — It's heartening that Prime Minister Stephen Harper loves music and plays the piano. But sharing these endearing personal details on the campaign trail won't reassure supporters of Canadian culture that he is playing from the same songsheet.
Toronto, ON (September 15, 2008) Globe and Mail - Prime Minister Stephen Harper's apparent view that art should be what people already want is based on a misunderstanding of the arts. If arts really were only about what people wanted, then cave paintings and the noise made by clapping stones together would probably still constitute the predominant forms of artistic expression.
See the Globe and Mail Cartoonists' take on the federal budget cuts.
Ottawa, ON (September 6, 2008) New Democratic Party of Canada (press release) - The federal NDP condemns the recent Conservative funding cuts to arts and culture programs vital to Canadian artists. These draconian cuts are a deliberate attack on the independence of the Canadian arts industry and completely bypass the appropriate process of consultation and public review.
Toronto, ON (September 5, 2008) Globe and Mail - Personally, I think Stephen Harper is calling an election now to get out from under the arts funding cloud - all the protests against his harsh cuts added onto leftover charges about trying to censor films. The issue has legs. It won't go away as he likely thought it would - after some predictable mewling by artsy types alongside some gruff appreciation from the good ol' boys. I imagine he can't understand why. I'd say it's because something has basically changed about the role of art and culture in this society.
Toronto, ON (September 4, 2008) Toronto Star - Supporters of arts and culture rallied last night in a sweltering downtown Toronto theatre to denounce more than $40 million in recent cuts to programs by the Harper government and to strategize on ways to defeat Conservative members of Parliament in the impending election.
Halifax, NS (September 3, 2008) The Chronicle Herald Nova Scotia - Premier Rodney MacDonald slammed the federal government Tuesday for planned funding cuts totalling $45 million that he says will damage the province’s cultural industry. The premier asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a letter "to reconsider these cuts," many of which are "critical to the development of our culture sector."
Montreal, ON (August 29, 2008) Toronto Star - The recent Conservative cuts to arts and culture have done what neither the pursuit of the unpopular Afghan war nor the demise of the Kyoto Protocol had accomplished: wake up a sleeping Quebec giant that is now gathering strength for a show of force in the upcoming election campaign.
Saskatoon, SK (August 28, 2008) The StarPhoenix - Prime Minister Stephen Harper's wife Laureen was enthralled by the play she had just seen in the small town of Cow Head, N.L., and she wanted to meet the cast after the show. She told them she loved the work, called Tempting Paradise, and she was not surprised it had toured internationally so successfully. One of the actors in Theatre Newfoundland Labrador took the opportunity to tell Harper how she felt about the government's recent cuts to arts grants programs.
Toronto, ON (August 28, 2008) Globe and Mail - Canada's plan to allocate new funds for the Vancouver Olympic Games and our elite summer athletes appears to be to rob Peter to pay Paul. What else could one conclude from the news yesterday that the cost savings from eliminating $40-million in arts-grants programs would be directed to the 2010 Olympic torch relay and the Road to Excellence sports program, along with a small bilingualism initiative
Montreal, ON (August 27, 2008) The Gazette - For years, Jane Needles has been part of a dream to build a new arts centre. A centre that would bring a variety of groups under one roof. A centre where artists from different disciplines could work together and draw inspiration from each other… Now, that project has been plunged into uncertainty after the federal government slashed the cultural grant program that Needles and others were counting on to fund the new centre.
Toronto, ON (August 26, 2008) Toronto Star - The Canadian music community, bewildered by the federal government's recent decisions to cut some $20 million in arts funding, is starting to assess the potentially devastating damage to their business.
Toronto, ON (August 26, 2008) Globe and Mail - While the Olympics played out, the minority Conservative government slashed its already diminished arts and culture funding. In particular it took aim at the funding of film and television. Among those hardest hit are the Society for Arts and Technology, the Institut national de l'image et du son, the Hot Docs documentary festival and the Canadian Film Centre.
OTTAWA, ON (August 26, 2008) Canwest News Service - Prime Minister Stephen Harper defended his government's commitment to Canada's cultural sector, saying that federal support for the arts has increased since he took office. But he also said that his government was also committed to weeding out wasteful spending, even when that initiative results in cuts to some programs that support the work of artists.
Vancouver, BC (August 25, 2008) Vancouver Sun - Canada's plan to allocate new funds for the Vancouver Olympic Games and our elite summer athletes appears to be to rob Peter to pay Paul. What else could one conclude from the news yesterday that the cost savings from eliminating $40-million in arts-grants programs would be directed to the 2010 Olympic torch relay and the Road to Excellence sports program, along with a small bilingualism initiative?
Vancouver, BC (August 25, 2008) Vancouver Sun - The Canadian cultural community has been abuzz over the past two weeks as details emerge about the government's plans to cut millions of dollars from nearly a dozen culture programs. While the cuts may find support among some Canadians opposed to public funding for the arts, a closer look at the plans reveal that this has little to do with handouts to artists. Rather, the affected programs are focused on industrial policy and the creation of a digital information strategy.
See the Globe and Mail Cartoonists' take on the federal budget cuts.
Toronto, ON (August 23, 2008) Globe and Mail - Canada's plan to allocate new funds for the Vancouver Olympic Games and our elite summer athletes appears to be to rob Peter to pay Paul. What else could one conclude from the news yesterday that the cost savings from eliminating $40-million in arts-grants programs would be directed to the 2010 Olympic torch relay and the Road to Excellence sports program, along with a small bilingualism initiative?
Toronto, ON (August 22, 2008) Toronto Star Opinion - As ministers of culture for Quebec and Ontario, we want to convey our deep disappointment about the recent cuts to federal arts and culture programs. In so doing, we are joining countless Canadian artists and arts organizations who have publicly expressed their grave concern.
Toronto, ON (August 22, 2008) Globe and Mail - More than $40-million in savings the federal government will reap from controversial cuts to arts and culture funding will be redirected to the Vancouver Olympic torch relay and two other programs, exacerbating fears that replacement initiatives are not in the cards.
Toronto, ON (August 21, 2008) CBC.ca - The national headlines scream that Stephen Harper's government is going to "axe five more arts and culture programs." Here we go again.
Norway (August 19, 2008) Dagbladet - Holy Fuck, who recently performed at the Øya Festival in Oslo, are being used as scapegoats as Canada’s Government slashes funding for “marginal culture”.
Toronto, ON (August 19, 2008) mplpost by Heather Mallick - The pettiness of the Conservative government in cutting off money for artists who want to go on an airplane trip is shameful. It is Canadian small-mindedness worthy of the 1950s. You know, the era before Canada began to grow interesting, to others and to itself.
Toronto, ON (August 19, 2008) National Post – He admires British painters Lucian Freud and Stanley Spencer. He has called for a moratorium on cuts to the arts in his own country. He wants to keep British museums free of admission fees. And he thinks the recent fuss over federal arts funding in Canada could have been avoided if the programs in question were protected from political interference.
Toronto, ON (August 19, 2008) National Post – The Harper Conservatives are running through every tactic in the political playbook in their stealthy campaign to axe arts funding.
Toronto, ON (August 19, 2008) Broadcaster Magazine – The Directors Guild of Canada has written the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to protest the recent abolition of two international cultural promotion programs, Trade Routes and PromArt, designed to assist the arts and the cultural industries gain access to foreign markets.
See the Globe and Mail Cartoonists' take on the federal budget cuts.
Toronto, ON (August 18, 2008) Globe and Mail – Canada's filmmakers, musicians, writers and visual artists have ample reason to be worried about their future… The behaviour of the federal government on the arts file has been disturbing, and it needs to immediately set the record straight on why artists across the country have been told to look elsewhere for support.
Toronto, ON (August 18, 2008) Toronto Star – The Harper Conservatives are running through every tactic in the political playbook in their stealthy campaign to axe arts funding.
Toronto, ON (August 15, 2008) National Post – In the absence of explanations from the federal government about its recent cutbacks to the cultural sector, the shock and anger of stakeholders and opposition parties is rushing in to fill the dead air.
Montreal, QC (August 15, 2008) The Gazette - For a country, this is cutting off your nose to spite your face. Two-year-olds, teenagers and irrational adults might indulge in pointless self-destruction, but governments are not supposed to jeopardize entire economic sectors no matter how angry they are that someone they don't like qualified for a grant. A less ideologically driven government would know that Canada's $84.6-billion cultural sector, with its million-plus workers, should be encouraged and promoted at home and internationally.
Toronto, ON (August 15, 2008) Globe and Mail commentary – Why has the federal government declared a war on talent? The recent cancellations of the PromArt and Trade Routes programs, which supported touring Canadian artists and the export of cultural goods, are the latest federal salvoes against the artistic community. These attacks will impede our artists, but could also damage the broader economy.
Toronto, ON (August 15, 2008) Globe and Mail – The Department of Canadian Heritage has decided to cut five more arts and culture programs over the next two years, even as a chorus of complaints from the arts community and opposition MPs rains down on the federal government over cuts announced last week.
Toronto, ON (August 15, 2008) National Post – The country's arts sector fears the Conservatives are prepared to slash $50-million in cultural funding after discovering new cuts to federal arts programs.
Canada (August 13, 2008) CBC News – East Coast music promoters say federal funding cuts to arts and cultural programs could be the death knell to the local music industry.
Toronto, ON (August 14, 2008) Toronto Star editorial – The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and Toronto-based baroque orchestra Tafelmusik are hardly known as hotbeds of left-wing radicalism … Yet the Conservative government is spinning its recent decision to axe PromArt – a $4.7 million program that helped promote Canadian culture abroad – as a way to stop subsidizing the frivolous wanderings of well-heeled activists and dilettantes.
Vancouver, BC (August 13, 2008) Press Release from Music BC - Bob D’Eith, Executive Director of Music BC states, “The present federal government is obviously not doing its research into the success of the programs that are being cut. In our experience the cultural export programs have been highly successful in generating international deals for export ready Canadian artists. In fact, the relatively small investment in these programs has lead to disproportionately large return on investment.
PEI (August 13, 2008) Press Release from The East Coast Music Association - The ECMA International Program which recruits annually up to 40 International delegates to ECMA weekend, is crucial in providing exporting opportunities for Atlantic Canadian artists and relies heavily on the support of these funding programs.
Toronto, ON (August 14, 2008) Exclaim.ca – Holy Fuck bassist Matt McQuaid realized how the band’s name could make them an easy target but said, considering they were nominated for this year’s $20,000 Polaris Prize and other awards, he doesn’t understand how supporters of the cuts could say they and other artists aren’t mainstream enough.
Toronto, ON (August 14, 2008) Toronto Star Letter to the Editor – The Ontario Minister of Culture speaks out against the recent cuts.
Toronto, ON (August 13, 2008) National Post - The government’s plan to kneecap freeloading leftwingers is proving somewhat more intriguing than originally appeared.
Toronto, ON (August 14, 2008) Toronto Sun – Orchestra, rock group -- even film festival --threatened by federal funding cuts.
Toronto, ON (August 13, 2008) CDA Press Release - The Canadian Dance Assembly strongly objects to the Conservative government’s recent decision to end two key cultural funding programs, a decision which undermines the promotion of Canadian art and culture to the world, and directly contradicts the government’s avowed commitment to support the competitive export of Canadian products.
Toronto, ON (August 12, 2008) Press Release from The Writer’s Union of Canada - "At a time when Canadian art, music and literature are finally making huge inroads in the world outside our borders," says Grady, "when Canadian artists, musicians and writers are being invited to participate in more international conferences and festivals than ever before, government cuts to arts funding are making it harder and harder for Canadian creators to appear before their new, expanding audiences."
Quebec City, QC (August 13, 2008) le Soleil– “Les conservateurs mettent en péril le rayonnement de la culture”
Montreal, QC (August 13, 2008) Le Devoir – “Programmes culturels supprimés - Québec emboîte le pas aux artistes”
Vancouver, BC (August 11, 2008) Press Release from the Office of Hon. Hedy Fry, chair of the Federal Liberal Caucus Sub-Committee on Arts and Culture.
A letter sent to Duncan in support of CIRPA's quick response to the budget cuts: "I send you my whole hearted thanks and appreciation for your (Cirpa's) articulate response to the lunacy of DFAIT and Trade Routes budget cuts. Last year three of the artists on my roster were able to travel to India, China, and Romania- all DFAIT proiority countries; all good markets for their genres."
Toronto, ON (August 2008) Globe and Mail Letters - The following are Globe and Mail Letters to the Editor in response to the recent Federal cultural program cuts.
Toronto, ON (August 12, 2008) Globe and Mail – Author and journalist Gwynne Dyer, who became a poster boy for wasteful federal spending when the Tories axed a program to send arts and culture abroad, says he travelled at the government's request and never applied for the grant he got.
Toronto, ON (August 11, 2008) Globe and Mail – Trade Routes, a $9-million program funding Hot Docs and other initiatives, ends in what critic calls a 'stupid' and 'provocative' choice.
Toronto, ON (August 11, 2008) Billboard.biz – Cuts to a federal Canadian government funding program will hurt the ability of Canadian musicians to make contacts outside of the country, according to the head of the country's independent labels.
Montreal, QC (August 12, 2008) La Presse – “Fuck (encore)”
Vancouver, BC (August 11, 2008) Straight.com – Just days after news broke that the federal government is axing the $4.7-million PromArt program, which provides cultural travel grants through the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, comes word that yet another cultural grant program is getting the hook.
New Brunswick (August 12, 2008) The Bruce Report - If the programs are being mismanaged, then either issue new guidelines or remove the civil servants who are guilty of wasting tax dollars on demonstrably spurious projects… Don’t eliminate, with a pen stroke, nearly $14 million of badly needed funding for hundreds, even thousands of outward-bound artists across the country. Don’t compromise the nation’s ability to build international markets for its cultural products, and burnish its image as a vibrant, creative, open and prosperous land.
Toronto, ON (August 11, 2008) "As It Happens" CBC Radio One - An Interview with CIRPA President and CEO, Duncan McKie discussing the recent Federal budget cuts to cultural programs.
Toronto, ON (August 12, 2008) National Post Editorial by Al Mair - As one of the individuals named in your article, I believe it is necessary to clarify the $4,200 grant I received from PromArt group. Canada's most successful cultural export is music. I was invited by the embassy in Helsinki to speak at a seminar organized to increase cultural exports between Finland, the Scandinavian countries and Canada.
Toronto, ON (August 11, 2008) Eye Weekly - Tal Bachman was invited to serve as a musical ambassador for Canada in South Africa and Zimbabwe in spring 2005, a trip subsidized by a $16,500 grant from the International Cultural Relations Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs. Now, he’s been lumped in with Gwynne Dyer, Avi Lewis and Holy Fuck as undeserving recipients of federal grants through the $4.7 million PromArt program…
See the Globe and Mail Cartoonists' take on the federal budget cuts.
Ottawa, ON (August 8, 2008) The Canadian Press - The Conservative government has announced it will no longer fund a federal program that subsidizes international promotional tours of Canadian artists...They attempted to play down reports that claimed the decision was motivated by ideological differences with many of the recipients.
Toronto, ON (August 11, 2008) Globe and Mail Press Release - Cultural exchange is an aspect of diplomacy, and Ottawa's decision to axe a small, $4.7-million program that sent artists abroad suggests that the Conservative government doesn't understand why that is the case.
Toronto, ON (August 11, 2008) Globe and Mail Editorial - Last Friday, it all became depressingly clear when DFAIT announced it was cutting all ties to culture by axing its PromArt program, a $4.7-million annual fund that sent artists into the world to speak for Canada...On Thursday, a government official leaked the story to a reporter by explaining the program had funded mainly political radicals and others it deemed naughty: the former CBC pundit and current Al-Jazeera contributor Avi Lewis, the journalist Gwynne Dyer, and a Toronto rock band known as Holy Fuck.
Edmonton, AB (August 10, 2008) Edmonton Journal Press Release - In the developed world, the only country that does not engage in cultural diplomacy is Canada. Shortly after the Conservative Party of Canada won its minority government in 2006, Prime Minister Harper dismantled the already-measly $25-million cultural diplomacy program. Under the Liberals, Canada was already spending the least, per capita, among the G8 countries.
Toronto, ON (August 9, 2008) On Friday, August 8th, the Federal government announced cuts to two significant programs that support cultural exports: the ProMart (Arts Promotion) program administered by DFAIT and the Trade Routes Program run by the Department of Canadian Heritage. Both of these programs supported Canadian musicians and music export companies and organizations.